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pontoontodd last won the day on September 15

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About pontoontodd

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    1000+ Super USER!

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Loves Park, IL
  • Referral
    search engine, lifted subarus and other mods
  • Biography
    Mechanical engineer, off road racer, trail ride and pre run with Subarus.
  • Vehicles
    1999 Legacy Outback, 1996 Impreza

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  1. Glad you liked the pics. Thanks, the V2R was quite a challenge, glad we finally finished it, can't imagine doing it again in a Subaru. Maybe eventually I'll post more pictures of the 6MT low range but without showing it to you in person or some kind of in depth video it would be hard to explain how it all works. The black Subaru still runs and drives pretty well so I will keep it for a while, I have plenty of other things to do. But the eventual replacement will be: Impreza wagon/hatch - probably first gen - lightest EJ Subaru, mechanical HVAC controls, more robust hatch than Legacy/Outback/Forester EZ36 on standalone swap over/copy many of the upgrades on the black Outback - 6MT/R180 with the low range, long travel, steel bumpers, skidplates, maybe fuel cell in place of spare tire well but no cage. thinking about fabbing engine and trans crossmembers/subframe since I'd have to space/modify them somehow and the engine crossmember has been a real weak point on the black Outback.
  2. Z made this a while back:
  3. I've seen several people put a transfer case behind a Subaru (or Toyota or other) transmission and put solid axles in a Subaru. TTB in the front would be hot. In my mind you might as well start with a Toyota at that point as it would be a lot easier. Also in my mind it's a different tool for a different job, Toyotas and Toyota buggies crawl silly but they're best when they're crawling, not going fast. How would you run the front output back through the transmission? Ideally you'd want the low range before the center diff if you want a Subaru style center diff. If you're using the NP231 2wd/4wd you would have to run the front output to the ring and pinion in the trans if you want a Subaru style layout. We are using off the shelf bushings from McMaster, it's just a lot of pieces and work putting struts together. Kinda wish we'd just made conventional struts with bigger shafts rather than inverted but our current design works so we're sticking with it.
  4. We've been working on the long travels. I think this is all the housings - galvanized, painted, and ID ground. Prepping the tops Z's set is all assembled and ready to install on his car which should happen soon. Really just need a couple bushings and bumpstops to finish slammo's set. Front control arm bushing off B's Forester. Maybe the most worn out one I've ever seen. He recently replaced both his rear wheel bearings, another reminder we have to do the billet rear knuckles. Still need to get his dual range back together and back in his car too. Support for the trans skid plate on my 99 was quite bent after the Vegas to Reno. Bent it back about as straight as I could using a big piece of tubing and the floor jack. Flattened the panel back out in the vice and got it bolted back in. Definitely not flat but much better than it was. Hard to get a good picture showing how beat the floor of this car is, in person it looks like the ocean. Many of the skidplate bolts looked like this. Hard to tell in this picture but that rear strip (left) is about half the height it started out at. I welded another strip on there before we put it back on the car. Here was our main structural failure during the race. Hose clamped the driver's side of the steering rack back in before we drove home. Bracket was essentially disconnected from the crossmember. The way it cracked it couldn't quite fall out but there was zero weld left intact. Not pretty but welded it back in place. Should be good for the life of the car if we don't do any more desert races with it. Some of the many cracks I welded up, these were on the front crossmember near the rack mount. Put in new rack bushings and got the rack bolted back in.
  5. Correct, those have a female splined rear output gear and I don't know of a good way to make that work with this design.
  6. I've been waiting to post about this all year. Let me start by saying these won't be cheap, on the order of $4000 retail. This has been a few years in the making but we finally made a proper low range for a Subaru. Replaces the center diff of a 2006+ STI 6MT. Shifts between 1:1 high and 2.94:1 low. Center diff shifts between open and locked, no limited slip feature. We've had one in my 99 Outback for about five months now. We've had some shifter cable issues. It popped out of high on rough portions of V2R. It occasionally shifts into center diff lock also, most often on rough trails. Those problems will probably be fixed by a better shifter. Unit itself hasn't had any problems yet. Everyone who drives it says it's like cheating. Low range in B's Forester with the 1.6 dual range is equivalent to in between second and third in low with this trans. We hardly even use first low on climbs, second or third is usually plenty, even putt up some hills in fourth low (equivalent to about first in high). Finishing a few more we have most of the parts for, next one is going to slammo. These are some pictures from the mockup, not the finished product: Video from our test run at Badlands off road park, video never does the hills justice but at least watch the rock crawl starting at 1:15: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyDVQnRx-Dc I think we can fit the same thing in a 5MT which obviously has a much larger market. It looks like the easy way to do the shifting would be to use a rear case section from a pre 97 5MT with the access panel on top. No idea how the standard driveshaft and R160 will hold up to a 2.94:1 low range but I guess we'll find out.
  7. One of the last things I did before we drove to Vegas was replacing the ignition switch that was shorting out. Has security bolts holding it to the column. I read about people slotting them or removing them carefully with a hammer and punch. I tried a little of that and just decided to weld a bolt to the head of these and use that to remove them, it wasn't too difficult. When I bolted in the new one I used socket head cap screws (left) instead of the break off bolts supplied (right). Turned the car on and off without blowing fuses. Still had to use the start button fairly often especially when the starter was hot. Can't take the key out in the on position anymore which is annoying.
  8. B and I drove my 99 Subaru Outback to Vegas last week. We entered and completed the Vegas to Reno, the longest off road race in the US, in 17 hours 40 minutes. It was great to see most people cheering us on before, during, and after the race. Coming around a corner in the dark to a broken down buggy and our lights lighting up the three hairy butts of the guys who mooned us was hilarious. We were guessing a lot of the course workers near the end of the race may have been cheering since they finally got to go home more than cheering us on. Only 165 of the 294 trucks and buggies that entered finished. One flat tire and a shifter cable issue were the only mechanical issues we had. The course was consistently rougher than when we tried it in 2016 and 2017. There were very few sections, I'd say 10-20%, where we could go 40+mph without worrying about breaking the car. We have averaged 35-40 in past desert races and could have done that for a while on this course but probably not for 500 miles. Our average with stops was 27mph. We switched driving and refueled about every third pit or 100 miles (which at our pace was 3-4 hours). Baja pits fueled us and had tires at those pits for us. Thanks again to slammo for coming out and helping us. We did replace a CV axle and hose clamped the loose end of the steering rack back in place for the ride home. which wagon is more beat? Then we did a little sightseeing and trail riding and drove it back home.
  9. We've been getting the 99 Outback ready for the Vegas to Reno. Replaced the rear wheel bearings and front brake pads and put on new tires and new (to the car) wheels. Already shipped a set of spare tires out to the pit service. Safety wired and cotter pinned all the suspension and brake bolts. Welded up a few cracks too. If I try to keep this car much longer that front crossmember will just be solid weld. After pressing together one of the rear wheel bearings it initially wouldn't turn. I had to put a bar on the wheel studs to break it loose but then it spun easily and smoothly. I've never had that happen before, has anyone else experienced that? Test drove the car for about an hour, at least half of that was at about 80mph. Couldn't tell if the wheel bearings or tires were making noise but didn't seem much louder than usual. Tire temps were all four the same and the rear wheels didn't feel hot when I got home. We got more parts for the dual range too. We need to assemble that and put it back in B's car but that will probably have to wait until after the V2R. Ditto the new long travel struts. If anyone wants to meet us at the Vegas to Reno let me know.
  10. I have Hankook and BFG mud terrains on my Outbacks. B has BFG all terrains on his Forester. All of them are 215/75/15.
  11. Also finally posted a video from our trip out west last year: https://youtu.be/Ngav72n_WQA
  12. B got a few parts in for the dual range. The first gear he got is at least 20% wider than the one that he broke so that's a huge plus. I still wonder what that stamped gear with one less tooth than the first gear does. This new wider one doesn't have that. The mainshaft he got seems to fit too. One shoulder was about a millimeter different in length so I relieved that a little bit in the lathe. Also cut the snapring groove for the dual range synchro hub deeper like we did the last one. The mainshaft that was in it seemed fine but while we have it apart we're going to replace a bunch of parts. B has a whole list of parts he's going to try to get. When we figure more of that out I'll probably make a specific topic for dual range info we've found. Finally got all the long travel parts back from paint along with B's bumper, so we installed that. Will eventually post better pictures of it when we go on a trip or something. Not too heavy but it should protect the fenders and lights, provide a couple jacking/winching points, make for easier and more robust recovery strap wrapping, give him a spot to mount a few lights, and allow more airflow to the radiator.
  13. We confirmed that it was the driven first gear on the dual range trans that was missing a tooth. B has a replacement on order. He already got a replacement main shaft that looks like it should fit. We did put the original (non dual range 5MT) back in his car for now. Replaced the driveshaft on the 2002 Outback, kind of surprising it was still driving like this, it was certainly making a lot of noise. Got all the new long travel parts galvanized a while back. Grinding shop finally ID ground them all a couple weeks ago. Hopefully we'll get them back from paint this week along with B's bumper. We've continued to do shock assembly as parts come in. We have almost everything now, just waiting on a few reservoirs. B also replaced the driver's side mirror glass on the white Outback, what a giant PITA that is. He also rewired the radiator fans and AC compressor to separate switches on the 99 OB. Neither ECU I have seems to run the fans when the temps get high so for the time being I can just turn them on manually. Rerouted some other cables while we he was at it.
  14. Have done some repairs on the cars since the last trip. Been hotwiring the ignition on the 99 and that seems to be working fine, no more blown fuses. Ordered an ignition key switch from the dealer but that's at least a few weeks out still, if anyone has one they want to sell please message me. ECU still doesn't seem to be turning the fans on. The only other ECU I could find is one digit different in the part number but basically looks the same inside and out. We put it in and the car ran rougher so we swapped the old one back in. I think for now I'll just put the fans and AC compressor on separate switches. Will probably part it out after the Vegas to Reno so it doesn't have to last too long. Speaking of which, if anyone wants to join us at the Vegas to Reno (it's not a very good spectator event) message me about that. Got a few guys going this year I think. Replaced some worn out bushings on the 99 too. B ordered a main shaft for the dual range that we hope will fit. If it does we might replace some other gears too. Plan is to swap a stock trans in his car this weekend for now. At one point we had the (probably original) radiator out of the white Outback and I noticed the plastic water necks had turned white. Got a new aftermarket one (Denso) a few years ago which was fine for a while. A few months ago in Arkansas we went through some deep mud puddles and it's been running hot on and off ever since. Guessing it got hot down there and ballooned the tubes. Got one from the dealer ($220) and just put that in. So far so good. There is an aftermarket one with 2" thick core that bolts in but it's for four cylinder so water necks are different. Also it's Mishimoto and I have had to replace the mishimoto in my black Outback a couple times due to pinhole leaks (lifetime warranty but requires some fabrication to fit). Z and I did an autopsy of the Denso radiator, you can clearly see the ballooned out tubes (they should look like the ones at the bottom): I've always wondered what the ATF to coolant heat exchanger looks like and I was a little disappointed. Maybe the stock one is fancier. A little hard to tell from the pictures but just a hollow brass tube in the bottom tank.
  15. Before the trip the dual range in B's Forester had started making a slight ticking noise in first gear. We weren't sure if it was the transmission or the engine since the frequency was about the same as engine speed. Also the driveshaft bolts in the middle of the (2010 STI) driveshaft in the 99 OB have been making noise under load in first and sometimes second gear for a while now. Seems the hanger bearing is just too flexible. The white Outback started making a similar but much fainter noise. On the way out of town we did a couple drag races between my 2002 white Outback and the 99 black Outback. They accelerate about the same which is kinda sad considering the black one weighs about 1000# more and they have the same engine. On the way north the white Outback was already running hot. We stopped in Escanaba to blast the radiator as best we could without disconnecting the radiator hoses at a car wash. We got to Rapid River and aired down and hit the super whoops. The black Outback didn't seem to take them as well as in previous years. I think I had been able to go 40-50 in the past over the more mild sections, this time 35 is about all I could do. It didn't kick the back end it just seemed overly bouncy. White Outback and Forester seemed better than before. By this point the white Outback needed to cool down. We pulled over in the shade and bypassed the trans cooler I'd installed in front of the radiator. That didn't seem to help much. We drove it with the heat on most of the weekend. At some point I realized I'd turned the heat up and it was at 80 but it wasn't blowing hot. It actually goes up to 85 and then it blows hot. Later on we realized it was at 84 and not blowing hot. Automatic HVAC controls are the bane of my existence. We wound up at the entrance to the big spring so we went there. We hit a stunt area the next morning with fairly steep and tall sandy hills. Z got stuck at the top in the black Outback. M tried pulling him out with the white Outback but it wasn't doing anything. We set up the winch and it pulled the black Outback out with ease. I did let it sit for a minute in the middle of the pull but it never shut off by itself. Then we aired down and Z was able to drive out on his own. We hit the climbs a bunch of other times in all three cars. At that point we headed to the campsite on the bluff along Superior. We walked down and along the beach and back up to a different campsite we've never stayed at. A got back to the cars first and removed the hood from the white Outback. He and I took a test drive to see if it helped coolant temps. It made no difference and while we were driving around with no navigational technology we hoped nothing bad happened since no one else was with us and they didn't know where we went. We set up tents and cooked food so people would know the site was occupied. Then we went back out for a few more hours of trail riding. After maybe ten minutes the black Outback completely shut off and I coasted to the side of the trail. The 100A fuse in the 2002 (H6 donor) fuse block had blown. We put in a fusible link and it fired back up and we kept driving. After maybe another ten minutes that blew. We checked many things and eventually I decided the only thing that could be otherwise unfused was the ignition switch. The start portion of the key switch has been working about half the time for the last couple years but I figured it was probably just old wiring. Also I've been able to take the key out while the car is running for years so it seemed believable that the switch was shorting out. We put the 100A fuse from the white car in the black car and just made a jumper wire for the fuse in the white car figuring the wiring in that seemed OK. I hotwired the ignition switch and it worked fine the rest of the weekend. The next morning we took trails to Grand Marais. At some point we stopped to reinstall the trans cooler in front of the LF tire in which did seem to help engine cooling a little. B and I headed down to the boat ramp to dunk the radiator in the white Outback after removing the fan fuses. He drove it in and out about a dozen times, didn't seem like a lot got washed out. By this point A pulled up in the black Outback and thought we should do the same thing since we'd gotten it stuck in a mud hole earlier that day (and used two cars to pull it out). I agreed it was a good idea so I spotted him as he drove it in and out of the lake. Didn't get a lot of mud out. I must have told him to go a little too far in as he said all of a sudden water was pouring into the wheel wells. When he tried to back the car out it stalled and wouldn't restart. We pulled it out as quick as we could with the white Outback. Started pulling back carpeting and removing the ECU. The ECU did look like it had gotten some water in it but it was fairly clean. Actually looks like it's had water in it a few times. Dried it out with some isopropyl alchohol. Thankfully it started back up and ran fine all weekend. We headed to the bar, this time with me driving the black Outback and M navigating. We took many side trails since we had plenty of time and not a lot of distance to cover. On one of the many side trails we picked up a vibration in the black Outback. A branch had broken one of the radiator fan housings and broke a blade off. We disabled that fan. Also noticed the ECU wasn't turning both fans on when the engine was hot. So we had to run the AC to keep the engine cool. Had to turn on the heat also for a little bit once. M cut off the opposite blade on the radiator fan and we hooked it back up. Went back out trail riding for a couple hours. White Outback still running hot so we had to keep stopping for that to cool. At one point we got back out to the main gravel road that goes east to the bar. Z was navigating, we told the guys we could just take that back to the bar and then hopped on a cool looking side trail in about 100 feet and did a big loop. Took another side trail close to the bar. There were some decent sized downed trees across the trail but we cut and moved those and drove over the rest, eventually looping back out to the trail we came in on. The next morning we mostly took main gravel roads/snowmobile trails to Pictured Rocks. Figured since the white Outback was still running hot and most of the guys hadn't seen them it would be a good idea. Hiked to Chapel Rock again, always amazing. On the way home we decided to hit one more snowmobile trail that was a pretty straight shot. It was fairly soft and washboard gravel so I had to run the black Outback in fifth gear just to maintain 55mph. White Outback was running hot again so we had to wait a while. Also on the way down there the black Outback picked up a pretty violent shaking under braking. The RF OB CV boot was badly torn, that axle had been making noise for a while. We drove down the road another ten miles or so to a shady parking lot and started swapping out the CV axle. Turned out one of the caliper bolts had fallen out and that was probably our main problem but we did replace the axle too. M reported being able to run the AC at 70+mph in the white OB on the way home but had to run the heat under 60mph. Fans both seemed to be working fine every time we checked them. A said the power steering was cutting out on him occasionally. White OB has much worse driveshaft noises now. Forester is definitely making noise in first gear, most of the weekend B tried to start in second gear low if he had to. The code on the trans is 502685 / 4D-TY754XKBAA. If anyone knows of a good source or even part # for a dual range (EJ) main shaft we could use some help. VIN # for a car with similar trans would help too. On Thursday I removed the radiator from the white OB and you can't see through the fins at all, they're basically folded over each other (and doesn't look like from pressure washing). Tubes might be ballooned out which might have buckled them? Ordered a new one from the dealer.